Starry Eyed for NOLA Queer collab, Brittle Stars


Film as the ultimate frontier of art combines so many aspects of artistry it can easily be the most challenging of mediums. Brittle Stars includes the brilliance of film basics like photography, lighting and superb editing but relies heavily on music and movement, performance and persona. It is fashion forward, a meeting of many mediums.

Created by an astute crew that each creates greatness individually as it is, Brittle Stars encompasses so much fever and magic in under 3 minutes with an intensity that is swift but impressionable, leaving the viewer feeling they’ve witnessed some enigmatic experience.

In case ya’ll are not up on your Nat Geo kids encyclopedias, Jami Girouard’s explains how an echinoderm gave the project a name:  “The only word that kept resounding with me was bioluminescence because of the electric green on the fringe. I reached out to my brilliant friend Gabe Soria, who has a knack for these kinds of things, and he came back to me with Brittle Stars which are starfish with long, wispy, fringe like legs who glow electric green from their bioluminescence.”

Girouard, who has been in or near NOLA since she was a child, has created a niche in underground fashion, though has been able to express beyond via Brittle Stars as one of the visionaries for the short film. Contributing the bright fringe creations that make for much of the magick in the film, given life by two performers who outside of the rope wear by Neon Zinn and Jami’s fringe, are mostly nude.

...this collaboration is a love letter between all of us proving that something gorgeous comes from the work we do together. A lot of New Orleans art, specifically the art that queers get their paws on, isn’t seen outside the city. She is a particularly insular arena for art and so many projects are fleeting and temporary, while at the same time being some of the most insanely stunning and life changing moments you might experience as an artist working in your immediate community.
— Blew Velvet

Dangerous Rose (featured in our Southern Alt Artists article) and performer and model Tarren Johnson had not met previously, though one wouldn’t imagine they hadn’t worked together before with such a harmonious performance. Both have a background in dance and create a sensual emotive performance together, so much so it’s surprising they aren’t long time performance partners. Tarren, the only individual not local to NOLA, was at the time in town collaborating on a piece with FLOCK dance. Both bring their own styles to choreograph in tandem for the short film and as a duo of energies, the movement brings a feel of nature, process, transformation, ritual, and transcendence as Angel and Tarren bloom in flow within the backlit geometry of an old church.

Jami’s partner Jay, known to many as Rusty Lazer, were both inspired to create this project after watching Das Triadisches Ballett, a German Bauhaus ballet by Oskar Schlemmer. Both were major in the co-production and direction. Jay is a NOLA staple in the scene and formerly Big Freedia’s manager. Along with friend and previous collaborator, this was edited by Bob Weisz who has worked on videos for Big Freedia, MGMT, Chairlift, The Killers, Boy Crisis, the list goes on. Photography provided by Sarrah Danziger furthers the aesthetic and mood and looking at any of the portfolios individually you see some of these folks have collaborated together before. Loosely all connected to a queer community that thrives in a city that still has elements of the rustic south, the passion in the collaboration and effort is truly present for the making of Brittle Stars.

Blew Velvet’s electro solo project SSTR provided a previously released track “Trick” for the video. Blew elaborated on the visual inspiration and motivation for the project:

"If nothing else, Brittle Stars shows the birth of a casual idea turning into a serious ‘for-art’s-sake’ endeavor by the incredibly talented folks that have held me as an artist and provide me with constant support and inspiration. The video itself is vivid and dark and sexual and doesn't seem to have been applied to the same conventions as most visual art and that is incredibly reflective of the queer New Orleans art scene. NOLA holds a lot of space for the unconventional creator, the punks in all their beauty, the queens of the underworld, and the masters of the psychically diverse. This work salutes that.”

Sunni Johnson, Arts Editor at WUSSY Mag, is an Atlanta musician and zinester. B